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More than Gold!

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A popular calypso in the early 1970’s, penned by the late Lloyd “Lord Hawke” Providence, named “Right in the Slum”, sought to put a better face to Paul’s Avenue, or Paul’s Lot as it is more popularly known.{{more}}

Hawke, who later became “Caribbean Hawke”, included among the many achievements of the “Slum”: Mother Priam’s Church, CDC Plant, renamed Vinlec, Bishop’s College, Town Board Office and other personalities such as Winston Soso and masman Raymond “Fuzzy” Knights.

Today, that song can be redone with additions such as the National Lotteries Authority building, many doctors’ offices, the 2008 Sports Personality, top Junior Squash player Kevin Hannaway, top mas designer Oswald “Ossie” Constance, and former national calypso monarch, Grantley “Ipa” Constance, just to mention a few.

What Hawke attempted over three and a half decades ago is still applicable in 2009, so when the Avenues Football Club lifted the National Lotteries Authority National Club championships recently, it was worth more than its weight in gold.

They did so against a host of resisting factors. Unlike other clubs in the Premier Division, Avenues lacks support from a corporate body, and has to depend on the benevolence of those from the area to get by.

Additionally, Avenues has no set training ground to carry out practice sessions. The Bishop’s College ground is under construction. There is restricted use of the Victoria Park, and the Richmond Hill Playing Field is often over crowded, consumed by persons from the Frenches, Richmond Hill, Kingstown Hill and Quarry communities.

In all this, current manager Marvin Fraser must be hailed for his efforts in keeping this bunch of players together, at times, in trying circumstances.

Fraser has worked tirelessly to maintain a level of commitment and focus from his young players.

He and others have to work overtime, as Paul’s Avenue has not been looked upon as any place worthy of mention to some persons. In fact, the Biblical question: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” at times must cross the minds of many who look down at that Kingstown community.

More so, the activities of just about two years ago, when the area was home to a spate of shootings, did not help the cause of that community.

So, anything that lifts the image of the Paul’s Avenue residents must come with open arms and be cherished with the utmost appreciation.

Yes, Avenues Football club has been around for the past 41 years, but winning a national football title in 2009 is premium.

One interesting case was that the young players were able to bring out the older heads in the community to watch them play; persons who had not gone to a local football match for many years, as there was that disconnect between generations.

The likes of Seymour “Rollit” Waldrond, Winston Soso, Dorian Phillips, Kelly Laidlow, Ronald Conliffe, George “Fat Pants” Forbes, Manny Sealey, Charles “Mr. Big” Henry and others have paved the way for that sustainability.

But changing that stigma of Paul’s Avenue will not be an easy one, but the triumph in Football may be, and just may be, a fillip.

Carlos “Rejector” Providence, the brother of Hawke, this year in one of his songs, called on influential persons in the Paul’s Avenue area to “Take back the Slum”. Again, this was in direct response to the happenings of unwanted criminal activities.

And, to do so, there are other pillars that they can build on. Nelson Bloc, one of the leading mas bands here, attracts hundreds of masqueraders at its annual productions at Carnival time. Similarly, all the who’s who want their children to be part of the Avenue Dancers.

The task is for elders in the community to see the good in the youngsters and assist them in showing them that there is a better life. The youngsters, in turn, must develop self determination and personal pride of achievement.

The players also have to lift their game, and put an infinite price tag on their reputation and try as much as possible to reduce the taboo.

But Football or sports for that matter cannot do it alone. Other social programmes must parallel the other established gellers and areas of good which the community has been recognized.

No recognition, though, for the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

Blessed New Year to all!!!

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